What's next for Revel and A.C. casinos?
February 20, 2013By Emma Jacobs
Atlantic City's latest and glitziest casino is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after nearly a year spent trailing the rest of the city's gaming establishments.
The Revel casino will still be around — under new management.
However, for Atlantic City, this wasn't just another casino. Atlantic City had pinned high hopes on Revel and this is another sign that they're not panning out.
Revel will survive in Chapter 11
Under the plan just agreed upon with investors, Revel will exchange over a billion dollars in debt for over a billion dollars in equity — ownership in the company.
In a statement, Revel CEO Kevin DeSanctis said that "The agreement we have reached with our lenders will ensure that the hundreds of thousands of guests who visit Revel every year will continue to enjoy a signature Revel experience in our world-class facility."
New Jersey Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex County), the chair of Assembly Commerce Committee, said Revel still pledged to pay all of its bills.
"Nobody except obviously for some people in top management is going to lose their job," said Coutinho.
"This is how business works."
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester County), who sits on the Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, said that while some investors may not see the returns they hoped for, Atlantic City hasn't necessarily lost out.
"The facility is there. The jobs are there. The operation is ongoing," said Burzichelli. "There are going to be changes in marketing. This is how business works."
Jeff Vasser, director of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority acknowledged that Revel has underperformed since its opening in May 2012, but eked out a silver lining.
"The fact that they addressed this head on and took care of business to restructure their debt I think is, in the long run, going to help them," said Vasser. "Revel's financial reorganization will enable this unique resort destination to thrive in A.C. and contribute to the revitalization of Atlantic City."
Atlantic City continues to struggle
But this is more bad news for an undeniably struggling Atlantic City. Just last week, Trump Plaza casino was sold for a mere $20 million. Last year Pennsylvania casinos' earnings passed New Jersey for the first time.
After the Revel project stalled, the state of New Jersey promised more than $200 million in tax forgiveness to encourage investors to finish the project in the middle of a recession. Revel has not earned enough to receive any reimbursements.
Governor Christie's press secretary Michael Drewniak says the administration remains "committed to the resurgence of Atlantic City," and that, "A rejuvenated Revel will remain an integral part of that landscape."